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NWSL’s Kansas City Current Fined For Taking Charter Flight

  • The fine of over $55,000 was called a “materially high fine” by the Current, according to The Athletic.
  • Both the NWSL and WNBA have fined teams for taking unauthorized charter flights.
Both the NWSL and WNBA have fined teams for taking unauthorized charter flights.
William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Charter flights are becoming an issue for another women’s sports league as the NWSL has fined the Kansas City Current over $55,000 for its charter flight in early July.

The flight in question departed from Kansas City, Mo., to Louisville, Ky. on July 6 ahead of the team’s game at Racing Louisville on July 7, according to The Athletic. In a statement to The Athletic, the Current said it chose to travel charter because commercial flight options were limited, and the club was concerned about player’s health.

“This decision was made to protect the health and safety of our players. With no direct flights to Louisville, multiple injuries, and our third away game in less than two weeks (which included multiple coast-to-coast time changes, 100-degree heat in Orlando and Portland’s turf fields), our focus was on the well-being of our players,” the Current said. “The cost of the commercial flight relative to the private charter was almost the same.”

NWSL policy on charter flights allows teams to book them under certain scenarios related to back-to-back games, postseason matches, and emergencies such as hazardous weather or a medical situation, reports The Athletic. But the Current’s match schedule did not meet the criteria, and they did not obtain approval for an emergency request, hence their fine. 

The WNBA fined the New York Liberty $500,000 for taking unauthorized charter flights during the 2021 season. WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said earlier this month that the league had spent $4 million on charter flights this year. Much of WNBA team travel is still done via commercial flights, and players made renewed calls for charter flight expansion after  Brittney Griner’s June incident in a Dallas airport. 

NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman addressed the possibility of charter flights in a press conference before last season’s championship in Washington, D.C.

“I think there’s a time and a place for charter flights, and I think everybody universally could recognize that they’re insanely expensive,” Berman said. “We need to be thoughtful about how and when they’re used, and be clear with our teams about what our position is and work on this together.”

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